In Act I, scene 3 of "Macbeth", Banquo tells his son what happened on the heath. What happened on the heath?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Act I, scene 3 of "Macbeth," the three witches discuss the havoc that they have wrought upon humans as Macbeth and Banquo approach, but are unaware of the witches.  In a line of great foreshadowing Macbeth alludes unknowingly to the initial prophecy of these witches:  "So fair and foul a day I have not seen (I,iii,     ).  The witches greet him each with a title: 

All hai, Macbeth!  Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!....Thane of Cawdor!...King...(I,iii,49-51)

Of course, Macbeth is nonplused by these titles since those holding them are yet alive.  Then, Banquo inquires about his future.  He is told, paradoxically, that he will be lesser and greater; he will not become king, but his sons will.  As the witches disappear, Banquo is left to wonder if what he has seen and heard is but an illusion:

Were such things here as we do speak about?/Or have we eaten on the insane root/That takes the reason prisoner? (I,iii,83-85)

In the next scene, however, Banquo thinks better of what the spirits have told him, for he cautions Macbeth,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/Win us with honest trifles, to betray's/In deepest consequence. (I,iii,124-126)